Request for Proposals for MIT Museum “Windows on MIT”
The MIT Museum has completed construction on a 6000 ft2 ground floor expansion and will shortly begin
fitting the space out with exhibits and program areas. Located at street level on Massachusetts Avenue, this
new venue will be a dynamic showcase technology space for the MIT Museum. Interactive media enhanced
programming and exhibits will provide visitors with live, rich views into research and innovation at the
Institute, a virtual “Windows on MIT.”
Here, we seek proposals for the creation of ‘Windows on MIT”, the electronic interface that will support
the dedicated program space within this new ground floor space. “Windows on MIT” will be commissioned
in two phases; this Request for Proposals is for phase one only. Recommendations on items that are not
essential to phase one delivery, and can be moved to phase two, are strongly encouraged. Our goal with this
phased approach is to concentrate our resources in phase one on maximizing media capabilities that enable
easy exchanges among presenters and audience members in a forum setting, and to expand in phase two to
accommodate further event types and an interactive function.
1.1 Phase One: Forum-style Technology Program Space
The first phase of “Windows on MIT” focuses on creating an exceptional forum space geared towards
producing unique, only-at-MIT programs. The space will accommodate discussion-style engagements with
MIT researchers, up to 150 on-site audience members, web-casting to on-line audiences, and multipoint
video conferencing to campus and remote sites. The space and installed equipment will integrate with the
capture and production processes of MIT’s Academic Media Production Services (AMPS) and Audio
Visual Services (MIT A/V) groups, who will often be on-hand to capture video, provide A/V support for
flagship events, and redistribute video and audio to web-casts via the AMPS video streaming servers. An
example of a webcast Soap Box, a flagship Museum event, can be viewed on MIT World at
1.2 Phase Two: Interactive Exhibit
For phase two the MIT Museum plans to create an interactive exhibit that utilizes equipment installed as
part of phase one. Although this Request for Proposals deals specifically with phase one, the Museum
requests that proposals keep this brief thumbnail of the phase two concept in mind when submitting
The interactive exhibit planned for phase two will allow visitors to explore the many facets of MIT in a
non-linear fashion, navigating a graphic representation of the intricate web of connections among research
efforts, people, culture, history, breaking news, and many other aspects of life, learning, and research at the
Institute. This interaction is intended to be wholly self-guided, and to allow engagement by individuals or
small groups. To the extent possible, designs for phase one will be planned with enough flexibility and
modularity to allow for future expansion into phase two.
Phase two may also be used to extend the capabilities of the media installation to the purposes of other
programs, and to accommodate performances.
The scope for this Request for Proposals is for phase one only. Schedule, budget, and scope for phase two
are to be determined.
2 Program Examples
This section details a series of program examples, vivid descriptions illustrating the intended use of the
space as a forum-style program space.
2.1 Soap Box
Soap Box is an early-evening salon-style discussion that brings researchers out of the lab and into
conversation with the general public. It attracts from 100 to 150 in-person attendees as well as an online
audience. Video and audio professionals from MIT’s Academic Media Production Services and MIT Audio
Visual Services are on-hand for event production, video and audio capture, and web-casting a mixed video
and audio stream.
Soap Box is divided into three consecutive activities, designed to encourage active audience participation in
the program and highly interactive discussion.
The speaker presents to the audience for 20 minutes on a controversial aspect of her research. She may
display visuals from a laptop, real-time data from research instruments via a video signal or computer,
audio from recordings, or video captures of physical objects on-hand. This portion of the program may also
involve a videoconference connection with a lab on campus or with an off-campus facility.
Media requirements for this part of the program:
• Video and audio to on-site, online, and videoconference audiences
• Simultaneous display of several video sources on different sections of the large central display (e.g.
speaker slides from a laptop, video feed, blocks of text updated in realtime from an additional computer)
• Ability for Museum production team to switch among video and audio streams, including presenter
materials and videoconference of remote sites
• Reinforcement of audio, both the speaker’s voice and sound accompanying speaker support materials
(much of this functionality provided by MIT A/V)
• Capture, mixing, and streaming of a web-cast and videoconference stream of the presenter, speaker
support materials, and audience (much of this functionality provided by AMPS)
2.1.2 Small Group Discussion
The audience moves chairs into groups of five to six and for 20 minutes discusses the topics raised by the
speaker in an effort to generate and submit comments and questions. Questions are submitted either
manually or electronically for the larger group and the speaker to address. Roughly twenty comments or
questions are selected for display. Each question is typically fewer than 50 words.
Additional media requirements for this part of the program:
• Visuals from the mini-lecture continue to display
• Comments and questions from on-site audience and online audience are displayed (facilitated by Museum
2.1.3 Full Audience and Speaker Discussion
The group reconvenes as a whole and the facilitator selects questions and comments for discussion.
Individual audience members speak to on-site, online, or videoconference participants from their seats.
Additional media requirements for this part of the program:
• Continue to display visuals from mini-lecture as well as comments and questions from small group
• Capture audio for on-site reinforcement as well as inclusion in videoconference transmission and web-
2.2 Educational Lectures and Live Links
Researchers in MIT labs and off-campus labs will videoconference to the MIT Museum for interactive
presentations to an audience at in the “Windows on MIT” space. Remote videoconference capabilities will
vary with location and equipment at the remote location, and the “Windows on MIT” facility must be able
to deal with a wide variety of remote connections, ranging from formal videoconference CODECs, both
HD and SD, to computer desktop consumer software such as iChat or Skype. Presenters in labs or in the
field may demonstrate experiments, objects, or environments to visitors at the Museum via the
2.3 Object Lessons
For this event a researcher demonstrates a physical object or experiment to a small- to medium-sized
audience in the MIT Museum space. This event is highly interactive and often involves members of the
audience close to the object, and even manipulating the object. At the same time close-up video of the
object needs to be captured and displayed on the large display to allow the interaction to be visible to a
larger portion of the audience. At the same time the researcher may wish to display informational
multimedia or research data in a different area of the large display.
2.4 Facility Rental
The MIT Museum intends to rent the ground floor space for corporate events. It is anticipated that events
will include seated dinners for up to 150 participants, presentations, press releases, etc. Renters will bring
in any additional video and audio equipment required for their event, and will have the option of using the
3 Desired Facility Capabilities
3.1 Central Video Display
The central video display will be the heart of the “Windows on MIT” space. This will be a large video
display capable of dealing with a wide variety of video sources, managing simultaneous, dynamic display
and arrangement of multiple sources on the display at the same time. Programs utilizing the central video
display are a major attractant for the first floor of the Museum, and are vital to the MIT Museum's mission.
Display recommendations must be accompanied by an explanation of how they apply to a phase two
implementation. Proposals for a motorized screen in phase one and fixed monitors in phase two will be
entertained. Minimizing the floorspace occupied by the display is a priority, a consideration that the MIT
Museum acknowledges must be balanced with maintainability and with ventilation needs.
3.1.1 Size and Visibility
For large presentations and events the central video display needs to be clearly visible to an audience of
100-150 people gathered in the space. Note that for phase two capabilities, the Museum desires the display
to accommodate close viewing (~3-4 ft) for smaller groups and for the display of highly detailed imagery.
Available space for the central video display is approximately 20 ft wide. Ceiling height is approximately
10 ft above finished floor.
The video switching and control equipment should be able to accommodate a wide variety of video sources
and provide flexibility in combining them on-screen or switching between them.
a. The ability to generate high-resolution motion video spanning the display area
b. The ability to generate multiple high-resolution images and video, displayed on different portions of the
central video display, ideally providing flexibility in what portions and what relative sizes are displayed -
must be able to connect 6 additional computers as input sources
c. High definition and standard definition DVD; recommendations regarding Blueray format welcomed
d. High definition television tuner
e. External and easily accessible connections for speaker laptop and secondary speaker computer
f. Multiple (2 each) component video, S-Video, composite video and DVI-I dual link inputs
g. Multiple facility-installed (2) videoconference cameras/CODECs (HD)
3.1.3 Source Flexibility and Relative Prominence
The video source and display switching system should be as flexible as possible, while at the same time
providing easy access to several common source and display arrangements. In particular, there will be
• A single source needs to be displayed over the entire video display
(Note: if a display technology is chosen, which has “mullions” or large visible static elements separating
display components, such as a grid of LCD panels, then, for images and video spanning the entire display
area, the switching system should accommodate both the automatic removal of video that would be
“underneath” these mullions to provide smooth motion video, and another mode which displays all parts
of the source video, for text slides and other images where all content needs to be visible.)
• Several sources need to be displayed simultaneously at equal size and prominence
(For example in a multi-point videoconference with two remote participants at different locations)
• Several sources need to be displayed simultaneously, with one source taking a central and prominent
position on the display, with other sources taking less prominent, “supporting” positions on the display
(For example, in a live link to a research lab the video of the speaker/researcher would be prominently
displayed in a large central area, with slides, questions, or research data displayed in smaller areas off to
the side on the display area)
• When multiple sources are displayed simultaneously and the source windows do not completely cover the
display area, an additional source should be displayable as a background behind the windowed sources in
An ideal scenario, resources permitting, would include a source and display control scheme that allows an
operator to select a set of sources and place them in windows anywhere on the large, contiguous, high-
resolution display, scaling and placing each source window with ease, perhaps via a touch screen showing
previews of the larger arrangement. This could be combined with the ability to save for convenient later re-
use a certain windowing arrangement on the display, a certain set of sources, or a combination thereof.
3.1.4 Design Flexibility
Within the above desired functionality there remains a lot of flexibility in choosing a display technology
(for example, short-throw projection, plasma cubes, LCD panels, etc.) and appealing display size and
arrangements. Creative and innovative design proposals, which take into account the described
programming, flexible use of the space, and the implementation of a phase two interactive, are highly
encouraged. The MIT Museum and AMPS will work closely with the selected vendor in reviewing design
ideas and finalizing any design.
The central video display can be augmented by smaller, detached displays as long as the whole integrates
into a cohesive experience for the visitor. Augmentation of the display is especially of interest for providing
video to areas of the floor with obstructed views of the central video display and/or stage.
Facility will have an installed videoconference system with multiple cameras and additional wiring for
video acquisition of videoconference signals by AMPS. System must have Multisite and NPP capability.
See attached drawing (Appendix A) for suggested camera positions and layout. Vendor will work with
AMPS on final design and selection of videoconference equipment to make sure system integrates with
AMPS equipment and processes.
3.3 Video Capture
Facility will need to be equipped to capture high-quality audio and video of events. Project deliverables
include installed PTZ camera mounts and cameras to be used by AMPS for event capture. Wiring for
camera control and video acquisition will run to central panel for use by AMPS during events. See attached
drawing (Appendix A) for suggested camera and mount positions and panel location. Vendor will work
with AMPS on final design and selection of equipment to make sure system integrates with AMPS
equipment and processes.
3.4 Sound Capture
The facility must have wireless microphones for presentations and audience participation. Sound design
must take into account ambient and environmental noise in the facility. Audio signals from microphones
must be easily capturable by AMPS or MIT A/V technical staff for mixing, amplification, and integration
3.5 Sound Reinforcement
The facility must have flexible sound reinforcement to accommodate a variety of events. Sound must be
high quality and clearly audible to audiences up to 150 persons. Sound design must take into account
ambient and environmental noise in the facility. Audio capability must accommodate a variety of events
and audio sources, such as microphones, wireless microphones, videoconference, speaker multimedia
presentations, computer audio, and others.
Audio requirements are for local amplification throughout the room, videoconference audio, and to provide
program audio feeds to the AMPS video production location.
3.6 Video Wiring
Project deliverables include video wiring to preset locations for deployment of Telemetrics controlled
equipment for video capture by AMPS. Wiring will originate at set camera locations and terminate on a
wall plate near the RDS Cart location. See attached drawing (Appendix A) for details. AMPS will connect
control and video switching equipment at this location during events.
A simple lighting design for the space will be created and implemented by the MIT Museum and its
contractors. Lighting system controls should be integrated into the general control system for the display,
audio, and video systems.
3.8 Object Display and Magnification
A special-purpose camera station (similar to a traditional document viewer but geared towards capturing
and magnifying aspects of a three-dimensional physical object) is desired. Envisioned use involves a
connection to the central video display for object demonstrations by a presenter.
3.9 Control System
The control system needs to accommodate the most common modes and be able to switch easily among
them. Basic functionality should be implemented in a simple, easy-to-use manner to allow operation by a
speaker or Museum staff. At the same time the control system needs to be powerful and flexible enough to
integrate with AMPS’ more advanced show and production control for formal event capture. Crestron as a
platform is preferred, and interface design and layout will be carefully reviewed and tested with MIT
Museum staff and a sample set of presenters.
3.10 Adding Rented Components for Special Events
The system needs to allow the addition of rented components such as supplementary video displays,
cameras, microphones, speakers, playback devices, etc. This ability is intended to allow the MIT Museum
to augment the base system to accommodate larger crowds and different event configurations.
4 Design and Implementation Deliverables
• Vendor will work with MIT Museum staff and AMPS staff on final design of the systems and
• Vendor will work with MIT Museum staff and AMPS staff on design of Crestron GUI for desired control
• Vendor will provide equipment list and systems design to AMPS and MIT Museum
• Vendor will provide detailed estimate of on-going maintenance and operating costs of proposed system
• MIT Museum and AMPS will review and approve equipment list, design, implementation plan, control
program, materials, maintenance plan and training plan
• Vendor, MIT Museum, and AMPS will agree on design and installation check-points
• Vendor will implement design to agreed-upon specifications
• Vendor will provide Crestron code on disk
• Vendor will provide mounting hardware and any blocking or structure needed to support equipment
• Museum will provide lighting truss, lighting, stage and podium
• Vendor will provide, pull and terminate low voltage wiring (power and local area network are existing;
vendor to notify MIT Museum in advance of installation period of any required alterations)
• Vendor will provide documentation of system and create or modify as-built drawings as necessary upon
5 Proposal Specifics
The MIT Museum is inviting vendors to submit fixed-cost, fixed-delivery proposals for system design,
implementation, and maintenance of phase one capabilities for the “Windows on MIT” program space. The
entire ground floor will open with a formal ceremony on September 21st, 2007 and will open to the public
on September 28th, 2007.
5.1 Proposal Components
Each bid package should include the following:
• Proposed initial design and deliverables
• Proposed budget breakout
• Proposed schedule (to include a period for on-site shakedown and training)
• Process description
• Project team description, with names and brief biographies of team members
• Client list and references
5.2 Walkthrough & Additional Project Information
Please schedule a walkthrough of the space with Beryl Rosenthal (contact information below). Please
submit any questions to her regarding the project.
5.3 Proposal Submissions
Proposals should be submitted to the following individuals by Monday May 28, 2007:
Beryl Rosenthal, Ph.D.
Director of Education and Public Programs
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139